12 Days of Christmas :: 5 Golden Wreath Cookies

I couldn’t go past the fifth day of Christmas without making rings of some sort. Cookie wreaths seemed like the perfect option, but which recipe? I was tempted to make some piped shortbread, but after having made some Christmas shortbread already this year, it had to be something a bit different.

These Italian lemon biscuits were the perfect alternative.

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12 Days of Christmas :: 2 Macarons

Macarons are one of those things I've always wanted to try but have been too intimidated to. I haven't even tasted one, let alone baked them. From the horror stories to the legends about how hard they are to bake correctly, I put it in the "one day" basket. I decided I was going to finally tackle this fickle beast for this Christmas. I spent many hours researching recipes and advice and all the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos. The more I read, the more confused I became. There is so much conflicting information, sworn by recipes, refuted techniques. It's enough to make you want to throw in the towel.

After one such evening I finally closed my internet browser and decided that was enough. It's only a meringue. I can do meringue. I needed to just get in the kitchen and have a go.

Turns out, there's a whole lot of fuss about not much.    These are completely achievable…

Daring Bakers: 12 Days of Cookies

This month in the Daring Baker's challenge, we got a little bit festive. Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us. She gave us 12 cookie recipe to choose from and challenged us to bake at least one of the 12 cookies, as well as our own celebration cookies.

Here's the two I baked for the challenge.

Double the noms…

Triple Chocolate Ripple Joconde

Last Thursday was my sister's 21st birthday. It was a given that I was going to make the cake. I told her with a week to go to have a think about what sort of cake she wanted. She had no idea. It's harder to think of ideas when you're not a baker – you're much less aware of the possibilities. 

A few days out I became resigned to having to work it out myself. Almost as soon as I came to this resolution, she piped up with, "I know what I want! A chocolate ripple cake!"

". . . really?" I replied. 

My heart sunk a little. I'd been looking forward to the opportunity to create something whimsical, test some new skills, have some license to create. Of all the things I could make, she chose the easiest cake in the entire world.

Well, the birthday girl has to get what she wants. But, me being me, I couldn't stop at making just any old ripple cake…

Death By Chocolate…

Daring Bakers Challenge: Crazy For Crackers

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.

The challenge required us to bake two crackers using two of three methods: hand rolled, pasta machine rolled, or the icebox method. I don't own a pasta machine, so the choice was immediately made for me.

Unlike the last two challenges, these are something I've baked before. I've never blogged any of my recipes, however, so it was a good excuse to return to two of my favourite recipes and share them with you guys.

Let’s crack some open…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 23

I've been a little quiet on the blogging front this week. I've been finishing off my final assignment for my last subject ever. Now I just have to finish off the research component of my course and I'll have a piece of paper declaring I have mastered science. Exciting. But scary.

While I've not been blogging, I've still been cooking. The masses always have to be fed, y'know. I've got lots to show you guys.

So now that I have time to take a breather, it's time for another cook book challenge post!

I didn't realise until doing this blog post that I took this weeks book from the wrong end of the pile. Now it's out of order. Ah! My OCD! *flail*

It's no secret that I love baking more than anything else in the kitchen. So a whole book on baking is always welcome. This week's book is Belinda Jeffrey's "Mix and Bake". 

Crunchy Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Bisuits…